A stroll through downtown Maryville, especially around the intersection of Broadway and Cusick Street, is marked by a commingling of natural and man-made beauty alongside an equally beautiful commingling of the past and the present. This tree-lined stretch is the home of two historic showplaces, the Palace Theater and the Capitol, which offer live entertainment of all sorts. They sit across from an equally historic building whose recent facelift not only saved the old building but also preserved a music legacy.
Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria is a familiar name, of course, and this new location shares many similarities with the Old City stalwart. Still, the location in Maryville is coming to its own identity, albeit with a deliberate pace.
The restaurant occupies the space that formerly housed Roy’s Record Shop. Roy’s was a treasure trove of vinyl and music history—13 years ago, Jack Neely, noting an array of collectibles that included a Naugahyde chair that belonged to Hank Williams, called Roy’s a country-music museum.
“Roy’s been here, and he’s offered to let us display some of his collectibles, but they’re just too valuable,” says Barley’s manager Shannon Hopkins. “We’re still trying to figure out how to keep them safe.”
Even so, one of the old music store’s most recognizable features, a large mural that depicts the region’s country-music history, remains intact and visible on the building’s exterior.
Inside, Barley’s continues its own tradition of serving up lots of live music. The upstairs music room is really a little concert hall that officially opened this summer, christened with a performance by Robinella. Starting on Oct. 10, the place will be home to the Behind the Barn live radio series, another nod to tradition.
The show, which will be hosted by Blount County’s first couple of country music, Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle, is a revival of a series hosted by Barbra and Pirkle at Barley’s in the Old City from 1999-2004. That Behind the Barn was broadcast on WDVX; this one will be aired by WFIV. The new series, like its predecessor, will focus on live music by local and national roots and country performers, like the Florida bluegrass band Trinity River (Oct. 10), former Black Lillies singer Leah Gardner (Oct. 17), Blount County string band Pistol Creek Catch of the Day (Oct. 24), and the Naughty Knots (Oct. 31).
The show will be held on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. Admission is free.